Plan Z: Build an Online Will to Protect Your Interests

I’ve honestly never been too concerned about the big ‘what if’ in life, but with taking on the kind of risk involved in such a long road trip (not to mention , it just made sense to start thinking about how to protect everybody I care about if I should end up on the ‘Plan Z’ exit path.

None of us ever want to think about this ride ending.  But let’s be honest: Sometimes things go horribly wrong, and being prepared is the best way to take care of those who are important to you.  That means maintaining a current and legally binding will.

As I prepared for a major relocation to Mexico and the subsequent lifestyle change from living the “regular” employed routine in Canada, thinking about putting a will in place wasn’t a fun exercise.  Even so, I knew I had to get something in place.

The amount of driving involved in getting from Calgary, Canada to Queretaro, Mexico made me consider the risks involved.   There is no doubt that I will be engaging in what is the most (statistically) dangerous mode of mass transportation – driving a private automobile.  The trip will involve over 4,200 km (2,600 miles) of driving, most of which will be conducted at highway speeds.

Getting to where I am going requires driving.  A lot of driving.  And that is dangerous.

As I started to contemplate this task, I was immediately faced with a thorny question: What does it take to get a proper legal will in place?

In researching the possibility of building a last will and testament online, I discovered that there are a myriad of websites offering what they claim are legally binding and ‘free’ services for just such a task.  However, on closer examination, it became clear that such services are never truly free, and when they are, it seems like they handle things in a minimalistic way that could easily be contested, or that would leave serious gaps in the handling of your estate.

I need to be crystal clear on one point: I am not a lawyer.  I don’t even play one on TV.  I do, however, have considerable experience in drafting business contracts.  I know what kinds of situations create legal gaps, and I also understand that no matter how well written an agreement is, it can always be challenged.  The goal is to make the agreement language as tight as possible to avoid creating areas that may be subject to interpretation.

That last thing I wanted to do was write a will that would be a nightmare for my executor to manage during probate, or that would create more questions than it answered.

After hunting around for a while, I discovered Canadian Legal Wills.  My biggest concern was the legality and enforceability of an online will.  On the Canadian Legal Wills website, the ‘about’ section answered many of my questions, and there is even a great video clip of a CTV news piece from 2016 that covered the topic of online wills.

In the CTV video, they interview a lawyer about the legality of online wills in general, and the lawyer (surprise, surprise) doesn’t recommend them.  In no way did this discourage me from looking at this option further.  Let’s face it – What else can a lawyer really say about a website that can potentially replace them?  (This is much like a pharmaceutical company saying that a naturally occurring remedy could replace one of their overpriced and morally ambiguous drugs.  Not likely to happen!)

Unless you have a horribly complicated estate to be divested, or you have decided to intentionally disinherit someone who would otherwise have entitlement, a basic will should suffice.  In my own case, having something (or anything, really) was vastly more useful than having nothing.

Will creation interview questions
Interview Questions Guide Creation of Your Will

The solution offered by Canadian Legal Wills seemed to address the problem of drafting a will with a very logical, easy-to-use Q-and-A approach to collecting the relevant information.  The system incorporates your information into a legally binding document that is ready for execution.

 

The offering from this site is also very modular.  You can select from many different options, which are priced individually so you can pick-and-choose what you need for your own situation.

Since I will be moving out of country, I selected the MyWill® tool for creating a legal will, as well as several other options to allow me to create a living will (for

Screenshot: Service Options
Services available from Canadian Legal Wills

end-of-life care when you cannot communicate your wishes), an expat will (for handling dispensation of property held out of country), as well as options that let me create a vault of critical information to be maintained online.  The system even lets you assign electronic key holders who will have online access to whichever final arrangements you allow, while retaining the ability to control their access through a ‘time vault’ feature to give you the opportunity to block their access if they request an opening of your will before you intended.

Timeout screenshot
Secure Vault Opening Timeout

The security settings in Canadian Legal Wills lets you decide how much of a waiting period to impose on the opening of your will or saved messages area.   This timeout waiting period allows you to control how your keyholders access your final arrangements.  In my case, I thought it was important for the vault that protects my living will to enforce a three hour unlock wait period, whereas for my actual will, it made more sense to set a three day waiting period.  I set my funeral arrangement records to open in just one day so my executor can get arrangements started more quickly.

With such a diverse and flexible offering, I’m pretty sure this online will creation option suits my needs and gives me the peace of mind I need to be sure final arrangements are properly handled.  Even if I decide later that I want to change something, I can just log into my account, make the changes and execute the new document – all for no additional cost.  Just try that with a live lawyer!

With 18 years experience in developing legal documents, and actual lawyers guiding the creation of the templates, I feel pretty confident that Canadian Legal Wills is the right choice for me.

Since I am now a client of Canadian Legal Wills, I can pass on a 15% discount to my readers.  If you don’t have a will in place (and statistically, you probably don’t), you can use the links below to claim the discount.

Use my Affiliate code at time of ordering for a 15% discount: a978477924

Alternately, just follow the link below for the discount:

LegalWills.ca – Write a will, power of attorney or living will (Get 15% off for being a Mexican Moose reader!)

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